A recent Toronto Star article presented some misleading figures about cost competitiveness of nuclear energy, in regards to the bid in progress for two new reactors. This also made it to the Climate Progress Blog—so we figured that we should “clear the air,” because this is something the nuclear energy industry is already very good at.
Now what is true about nuclear energy is that it’s a growing as a source for clean, viable, and economic energy all over the world. Look at the cases of India and China, two booming countries for which access to energy is not a question of prestige, but a matter of social stability and sustainable development. Do you think these countries would have chosen nuclear energy if it weren’t a cost-effective solution? Major European states, such as the United Kingdom, France, Italy, and Sweden, are taking progressive steps or are already launching new nuclear energy programs. In the U.S., there are already approximately 30 new nuclear power plants proposed. It’s unlikely that these utilities’ consideration of building new nuclear power plants was guided by philanthropic concerns.
Facts are stubborn things. Nuclear energy produces electricity at a competitive and predictable price—especially if we add in carbon pricing. Once construction costs are amortized, the operating costs of a nuclear facility are among the lowest of any generating source. This includes the fact that nuclear energy is the only major source of electricity that incorporates the cost of managing its own waste materials, unlike fossil-fuel plants that just allow their smoke and other byproducts to escape into the air.
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